IEET > Rights > Vision > Bioculture > Fellows > Russell Blackford > FreeThought > Technoprogressivism
In Support of Boobquake

Good for Jen McCreight of Blag Hag for coming up with the idea of Boobquake. UPDATED

For those who don’t know, this little meme ridicules the idea that “immodest” dressing by women leads to lascivious thoughts from men, which results in fornication and adultery—which, in turn, cause earthquakes. The idea was proposed a few days ago by a senior cleric in Iran, but of course it’s in line with the common thought in Islam that there’s something wrong with a woman “showing her beauty to the world”. Christianity is not much better, of course: there’s a long tradition of Christian theologians problematising women’s (and men’s) bodies, deprecating sexual beauty, and expressing anxiety about sex itself.

Go back to the Church Fathers, to Saint Augustine and Saint Jerome, for example, and look at what they have to say. Their writings are saturated with ideas of sexual sin and shame. Those ideas have carried right through to the present day, but they are absurd, miserable, and life-denying ... and they deserve our mockery. They exemplify the way that religion does dirt on the good things that this world has to offer.

Unfortunately, there was a lot of 1980s pseudo-feminism that took a similar attitude to that of Christianity and Islam, problematising displays of female beauty and even expressing disgust with heterosexuality itself. The worst offender was the egregious Andrea Dworkin—who died relatively young back in 2005. In her case, good riddance. These pseudo-feminists merely use feminist-sounding language to rationalise the religion-based anti-sex morality into which they were socialised. But they lack the self-insight to understand that it’s what they’re doing.
Get it clear: there is nothing wrong with the beauty of the human body, male or female, nothing wrong with enjoying it, and nothing wrong with displaying it to the world. If you’ve been blessed with physical beauty, then for Aphrodite’s sake display it; take pleasure in your good fortune, and let other people take pleasure in it. Strut your stuff, and don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed about so-called “immodesty”. Feel free to scorn the moralism of Islamic clerics and anyone else who tries to put you down.

I find it incredible that there’s still so much irrational, religion-based shame and guilt about the body even within Western societies: so much fear of the body’s beauty, and of its power to arouse sexual feelings. We see this shame, guilt, and fear even among atheists, many of whom have not fully liberated themselves from traditional morals. (For Zeus’s sake, what’s the point of being an atheist if you still buy into the same morality as the religionists? You need to get beyond that.)

Let’s return to a healthy pagan value-set. For the Greeks, beauty, creativity, analytical intelligence, athletic ability, and many other things would have been seen as excellences that it’s good for a human being to have. Unfortunately, few of us possess them all (I most certainly don’t!), but all of them are worthy of enjoyment and celebration wherever and whenever we do encounter them. All of these human excellences open up possibilities of one kind or another, and give a sort of power to those who possess them; all of them are admirable; and all of them can be used to bring pleasure to others.
Anxiety about the body and its beauty is sometimes rationalised on the basis that we should value cognitive abilities above physical beauty, though I’d love to see a rational argument as to why we should adopt any particular hierarchy of values. In any event, this is not a zero-sum game. You can have many of these human excellences; they don’t exclude each other; and you can take a proper pride in them all. (As it happens, most of the beautiful women whom I’ve been fortunate enough to know have also been highly intelligent and creative. But why expect otherwise?)

Apparently, judging from this follow-up post, Jen McCreight has been given a hard time by some of the remaining pseudo-feminists—Dworkin has gone, but they’re not quite extinct—who still purvey a miserable 1980s ideology. Well, let them, but they deserve no more respect than Islamic clerics, or Vatican officials, or irrationalists of any other species.

UPDATE: Here is an extra note for people who don’t “get” it.

We’re talking about women voluntarily wearing clothes which seem to them to be fun and sexy. Note that it was a woman who had the idea and that many other women are getting into it enthusiastically. I think there’s a reason for that.

We’re not talking about pornographic images that are meant to do dirt on female beauty for the benefit of men who fear it. I’m not a fan of pornography because I think that this is what much (I’m not saying all) pornography is all about. In that sense it’s deeply misogynist.

But we need to make the distinction between rational critique of this kind of pornography and getting upset at the sort of sexual display by women that the women themselves feel good about. Women are entitled to dress in ways that strike them as wild, and fun, and sexy, and we are all entitled to enjoy it if they do. Contrary to the rantings of an Iranian cleric, women get to be flirty or frivolous or to exult in their beauty. The difference between enjoying this and resorting to misogynist pornography is as radical as the difference between laughing with someone and laughing at someone.

1980s pseudo-feminism was too unnuanced to make these sorts of distinctions. Sure, some of its targets—the kind of pornography I mentioned—were legitimate ones. But much of the critique was so scattergun as to give the impression of rationalising anxieties about sex and the body. The people concerned would have been in good company with Saint Augustine or a brace of mullahs from Iran.

Come on folks, let’s support genuine feminism, by all means. The realisation that women are as capable as men, and that society must change to reflect this, is important. It’s a remarkable insight that we achieved in the West, after countless years of patriarchy that are still not entirely behind us. We’re still working through the full implications.

But we don’t have to be so unnuanced as to condemn something as fun and harmless and genially satirical as boobquake. Feminism is not about taking the fun and joy from life, though that was what 1980s pseudo-feminism often seemed to do. Two or three decades later, most of us can tell the difference. Get with the program!

Russell Blackford Ph.D. is a fellow of the IEET, an attorney, science fiction author and critic, philosopher, and public intellectual. Dr. Blackford serves as editor-in-chief of the IEET's Journal of Evolution and Technology. He lives in Newcastle, Australia, where he is a Conjoint Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle.


I am trying to get a patent for ‘artificial cleavage’ which will let anyone get the boobs they want without surgery.  It would be a holographic projection from a necklace.

Hi Russell,

Are you referring to Andrea Dworkin’s work to hold pimps accountable for what they do when trafficking women? Or her work to challenge rape as natural and inevitable? Or her work to show that pornography is an industry comprised of gross sexual exploitation, profiting corporate pimps, not women as a class.

I’m unclear from your statements. She was not affiliated with or supportive of any major patriarchal religion, that’s for sure. She wrote a whole book critiquing the U.S. Christian-dominated Right-wing, in fact.

Are you talking about her pointing out the tyranny of the “Beauty Industry” which tells women incessantly that beauty requires buying products and modifying their bodies, because, naturally, women are supposed to think of themselves as unattractive? Are you talking about the feminist critiques of beauty that are racist and anti-lesbian?

And, what background do you have in Feminist Studies to make yourself an authority on what is and is not “pseudo-feminism”. What is legitimate feminism, to you? The variations that don’t critique systems of oppressive power and privilege and entitlement, such as those based on white supremacist and male supremacist ideologies?

I look forward to your reply.

re billmerit’s holo projector—would that cause virtual earthquakes?

“virtual earthquakes”

What a great idea.

How can we market it?

Maybe as a video game as part of Virtual Jihad.

Huge market in the middle east.


Dworkin allied herself with Christian conservatives to get porn censorship bills pushed through state legislatures. Those bills ended up largely ignoring the kind of porn that subjugates and objectifies women. Instead, the laws were excuses to declare lesbian and BDSM erotica and pornography obscene. Duggan and Hunter’s “Sex Wars” make it clear that Dworkin and MacKinnon’s efforts were both wrong in principle and in practice.

I agree with you, however, that neither Russell Blackford, nor anyone, has authority to declare some specific brand of feminism heterodox.

As for the other questions, I’ll let him dig himself out or down deeper, as the case may be.


Dworkin allied herself with Christian conservatives to get porn censorship bills pushed through state legislatures.

That’s entirely incorrect. I was there.  The activists who worked on this issue worked with many city councils, and, surprise, some city councilors are liberal and some are conservative. Some of those who “got it” about pornography being harmful to women on civil rights grounds, not criminal ones, were conservative men, just like some conservatives get that abuse of animals is wrong. If someone appeals to a conservative city councilor to get any animals rights or human rights ordinance passed, does that mean the activist is, themselves, “right wing” or “conservative” or promoting right wing policies and politics. I don’t think so.

What you are stating is consistent with media misunderstandings and academic sloppiness (and antifeminism) in its telling of history on the matter of feminist antipornography activism in North America.

Dworkin was quite on record for opposing state censorship approaches to regulating pornography. She co-drafted a civil rights law—she could have drafted a censorship law, yes? The law she co-drafted and supported politically supported women harmed in and by those who use misogynist pornography to sue the harmers on sex discrimination grounds, not on criminal ones. It did not empower the state to remove pornographic materials. Have you read their law? You can find it here:

Those bills ended up largely ignoring the kind of porn that subjugates and objectifies women.

Wrong again. The Dworkin-MacKinnon ordinance was designed specifically to address and provide recourse to most of the women used and harmed in and by the industry. It defined pornography in terms of what pornography, at the time, regularly and routinely did to women. Where are you getting your information from? A secondary source, perhaps?

Instead, the laws were excuses to declare lesbian and BDSM erotica and pornography obscene.

You’re speaking about what Canadian legislators decided to do with the Dworkin-MacKinnon law, which Andrea Dworkin did not support. You’re aware of that right? How is Dworkin responsible for what Canadian legislators do? That’s giving her a bit too much power, yes? You know she did not approve of what they did, yes?

Duggan and Hunter’s “Sex Wars” make it clear that Dworkin and
MacKinnon’s efforts were both wrong in principle and in practice.

Right, Duggan and Hunter’s misreading and misunderstanding of the whole matter. Gotcha.

I agree with you, however, that neither Russell Blackford, nor anyone, has authority to declare some specific brand of feminism heterodox.

As for the other questions, I’ll let him dig himself out or down deeper, as the case may be.

I welcome him to try.


The debate over both Dworkin and MacKinnon’s anti-pornography legislation is too long for a blog comments thread. People who want to know more can research and read on their own time, but the debate is far from resolved and there are respected and intelligent people on both sides.

I agree that Blackford’s use of the word “pseudo-feminist” for Dworkin was inappropriate, but it is not out of line for him to express his disdain for the woman. It isn’t as if Dworkin herself is uncontroversial. The very creation of F.A.C.T. was in reaction to her work and her rhetoric is incendiary, for better or worse, that earns as many enemies as friends. But, from a skimming of your blog, it seems you’re a Dworkin fan, so there really isn’t much place for this debate to go.

Beyond defending Dworkin, I really don’t see what criticism you have of Blackford’s support for Blaghag’s protest. It’s more of an atheist issue than a feminist one, which is why he commented on it in the first place.

Hi Kyle,

I simply sought to hold a white man accountable for proclaiming himself an expert both on who is and who isn’t a legitimate feminist, and on misunderstandings of Dworkin’s position, re: censorship. Believe me, no radical feminists I’ve known in thirty years have ever been supported by the U.S. government, and Right-wing pro-censor folks have nothing in common with feminist anti-pornography activists who I’ve worked with and supported.

I was setting the record straight, and calling him out. And he has yet to own that what he did was irresponsible and inaccurate.

As you say, there’s no further need for engagement, as this thread is not about the history of the North American feminist antipornography movement.

I’ll close by saying that the pornographers were quite sufficiently endowed, financially, to fight any battles feminists brought their way, and had the means to discredit feminists at every turn. Their media is larger than the “legit” movie and music industries combined. So F.A.C.T., which was a very academic and privileged group of women, who were no survivors of the sexism industries, did side with them, yes. This was a low point in feminist activism, marking the first time feminists used the State to battle against poorer, more disenfranchised women fighting for the right to sue those who harm them.

The media pounced right away, incessantly saying that Dworkin and MacKinnon were “pro-censorship” just to get the masses upset, and it worked. And the pornographers’ smear campaigns worked as well.

The pornographers won, with help from the women of F.A.C.T., but with far more help from the A.C.L.U., which has always valued individual rights over civil rights.

I’m done now! 😉

Thanks for responding as you have, Kyle.

I have to echo Kyle’s sentiments. The “Feminist Sex Wars” may be considered done, but they are far from finished. I see sexuality being used as a divisive force every single day in feminist debate, and THAT is what’s most saddening about the entire Boobquake vs. Brainquake argument so many people are having.

In response to the polarizing effects of these debates, I thought it would be worthwhile to support Femquake instead:

Hi maymay (and this is also to Kyle),

Thanks for promoting the idea that women are full human beings, not just “a pair of bosoms”.

The issue in the 1980s wasn’t warring over sex.  Kyle mentions a book called “Sex Wars” by Lisa Duggan and Nan Hunter—two very privileged white women. They “frame up” the issues to their advantage in the first chapter. Their issue is sexual libertarianism and Queer Politics. That’s their cause. Fine.

But the significant feminist issues of the day, then and now, are women’s lack of freedom from male domination and gross exploitation, not “sex wars”. The issue was and remains women’s autonomy and liberation from pimps’ imperatives and mandates about how and what women are supposed to be, as if all women are only supposed to exist for and be appealing to white heterosexual men.

That’s not a “sex war” issue; it’s a human rights issue. There is more sexual slavery now than ever before. As you may know—or not if your only source of information is dominant U.S. media and the bulk of what is taught in The Western Academy—1.3 million children in India, alone, are trafficked and enslaved, and women across Asia are organising to stop the rape and trafficking of women by men. This is not a “sex wars” issue. It’s a human rights issue.

There is not a “war between the sexes” and never has been. What there is, is systemic and systematic sexual violence against women. What there is, is ONE in THREE Indigenous North American women being raped, primarily (80% or more) by white men. That’s not an issue of “sex wars”. That’s a human rights issue. Amnesty International agrees with this perspective. It’s not mine. And it wasn’t Dworkin’s alone either. Hundreds of thousands of women fought difficult battles to get dominant society to recognise that rape is not “women’s fault” and that battery exists, men beating the crap out of women, regularly, and that sexual assault happens on dates and in frat houses, and on the street and by husbands against women they think should “honor and obey” them. “Obedience” isn’t a value that promotes a war between people; it’s a value of male domination of women. Right?

Russell and Kyle are misrepresenting what the issue was and is, based on one book (although there are others too) that had that as its primary goal to do some pretty irresponsible historical revisionism to pretend that the issue was “wars about sex” rather than women challenging men’s violence against women. Kyle, do you get that rape crisis centers and domestic violence centers were the consequence of what feminists did in the 1970s and 1980s, in the U.S. Do you get that these are not issues of “sex wars”?

Right now, Sarah Deer in the U.S. and London feminists in the UK women, the women of RAWA in Afghanistan, Yanar Mohammed and other women fighting for women’s freedom and liberation in Iraq, Ruchira Gupta and her organisation Apne Aap, are working for human rights for women and girls, to be free of Western colonialism, rape, slavery, and murder. That’s not going to be turned into a chapter of some book that comes out in a decade about “the sex wars” of the first ten years of the new century, is it, Kyle?

We all know the media spins reality, sometimes in dizzying ways. Duggan and Hunter’s book does that. Why? Because they are invested in people NOT focusing on this little matter of men raping and enslaving women and girls all over the world. I don’t fully understand why they did that with their book. I suspect it is because they are so very privileged they get to care more about their own rights to do what they want to do, sexually, than about what men do to women globally. That’s sad and quite ethically deplorable.

How privileged some of us in the West get to be, to forget that a horrifying number (in the MILLIONS) of women and girls, and some boys, are being used/abused as sexxx-things for men, including many Western men who travel very freely around the world specifically in order to sexually assault children and women in Asia and in other regions of the world, with no criminal consequence to them.

Is all of this really a matter of “sex wars”? Honestly? I don’t see how any empathic, feeling, socially aware person can claim that, unless you’re in profound denial about what is going down. Please listen to Yanar, Ruchira, Malalai Joya, and Sarah Deer. Listen to the women who are on the front lines of men’s sexist, racist, and very brutal war against women.

Andrea Dworkin’s work (a dozen books, not just one on pornography) was comprehensive in exposing, analysing, and challenging men’s sexual, emotional, psychological, economic, and religious domination of women, focusing on white men’s sexualised violence against women of all colors. She was an anti-racist/anti-misogyny human rights activist, which would be noted profusely by men now, if only she had been working on behalf of men. But because she focused on women, on what happens to women inside systems created and controlled, to this day, by men; because she didn’t shy away from telling the masses what pimps and rapists do, she is seen as participating, foolishly, including here on this pro-ethics site, in some “Sex War” debacle.

Please don’t misrepresent her or her work here, Kyle. That’s what I’m asking of you. To be ethical and to care. Please consider the harm of what men are doing to women across the globe. Breathe in that pain, that injustice, that violation of bodies and psyches. Please imagine, right now, being a seven year old girl in Asia, or anywhere else, who is being coerced and forced by many circumstances, all of them run by men, to accept into her mouth the penis of a middle aged white man from Ohio, New York, and California, right now.

Please don’t be in denial about what “one in three” Indigenous women in North America being raped means, politically, ethically, socially, psychologically, emotionally, as well as physically. Imagine the collective pain. Please. That’s what I’m asking of you. Is that really too irrelevant, too unethical, or too irresponsible of me to ask?

Please be accurate about the issues that are harming and killing women. Don’t encourage us to pretend those human rights atrocities are not happening, and instead there’s this silly problem called “sex wars”.

Am I asking too much of you, Kyle—and Russell?

Julian Real wrote: “What there is, is systemic and systematic sexual violence against women. What there is, is ONE in THREE Indigenous North American women being raped, primarily (80% or more) by white men. “

Can I ask for your source? It seems so opposite from this Department of Justice source:
According to
“The black-white disparity in arrest rates for forcible rape peaked in 1981, when the black rate was almost eight times the white rate. In 2008, the black rate was about three times higher than the white rate. “

Mr. Blackford, you write: “Get it clear: there is ... nothing wrong with displaying (the human body) to the world. ... let other people take pleasure in it. Strut your stuff, and don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed about so-called “immodesty”.”

When I read this, I keeping thinking about challenging it with, “but what about…?” You never mentioned a point at which you should stop. For instance, and I’ll choose what I consider an outlandish case, just to test the waters: would you recommend that a gorgeous school principal strut her naked body into the second-grade classrooms in her school?  I’m just so puzzled why you felt no need to put a limit on your suggestion.

Hi Veronica,

Yes, of course you can ask for my source.

Here it is:


I hope you get how utterly racist and classist our “criminal” justice system is. So that any reports on who is arrested will be grossly biased against people of color. You realise, I hope that rich white men do not go to jail for snorting cocaine or smoking pot, but poor people do, for using illegal drugs, such as crack cocaine. Does that mean that rich whites don’t use illegal drugs? Hardly.

You get that poor Black men are targeted, profiled, and harassed by the police, as well as arrested for doing nothing more than existing in public, right?

You get that poor Black women are as well, yes? So this might explain, for example, why more Black women are arrested as prostitutes than white women.

And so when you quote stats on the numbers of arrests for rape re: race, surely you’ve got to know how the racism of police forces factors into those figures, I hope.

Class-privileged white men rape women and children of all colors, globally. That they routinely and regularly do so off U.S. shorelines means they are not accountable or arrestable by U.S. police forces. So how would they account for those in coming up with their figures.

White men rape their wives, with impunity, so the prevalence of that wouldn’t be factored in. You know that in some white communities, it is common practice to have more than one wife, and that some of those wives are related to one another, such as mother and daughter? Does that count as rape?

Does incest count as rape? Father (or father figure)-daughter incest is the most common form of child sexual assault.

White boys and men date raped girls and women I know. I assume if you ask all the women you know, they’ll report the same to you. It’s common, as common as women blaming themselves for it occurring; as common as wives, daughters, prostitutes, and many other women blaming themselves for being raped.

Disproportionately white frat boys “party rape” young women, usually using at least one drug to do so: alcohol.

Procurers of women in systems of prostitution rape prostitutes regularly. Do women in systems of prostitution in the U.S. report it? No, because they’d be arrested. Why not criminalise being a procurer and decriminalise being a prostitute? Given the economic and other systemic factors, including the preponderance of pimps who lure and season homeless girls to be prostitutes, why not do what Sweden did?

And are those rapes, by men with money to use to rent and abuse girls and women in the U.S., counted as “rape” in the stats you cited?

No woman I know who has been date raped reported it. All the perpetrators were white. So how does that factor into the statistic you chose to put forward?

In your education, did you not study the racism and classism endemically skewing arrest reports and statistics? If you didn’t, please let me know what schools you attended, so I can alert the public about the racism and classism of their criminal justice/law programs.

See this (source provided after the passages):

Child sex tourism makes its profits from the exploitation of child prostitutes in developing countries. Many children are trafficked into the sex trade. In Thailand, for example, Burmese girls as young as thirteen are illegally trafficked across the border by recruiters and sold to brothel owners.

The lives of child prostitutes are almost too appalling to confront. Studies indicate that child prostitutes serve between two and thirty clients per week, leading to a shocking estimated base of anywhere between 100 to 1500 clients per year, per child. Younger children, many below the age of 10, have been increasingly drawn into serving tourists.

Child prostitutes live in constant fear; they live in fear of sadistic acts by clients, fear of being beaten by pimps who control the sex trade, and fear of being apprehended by the police. It comes as no surprise that victims often suffer from depression, low self-esteem, and feelings of hopelessness.

Many victims of child sexual exploitation also suffer from physical ailments, including tuberculosis, exhaustion, infections, and physical injuries resulting from violence inflicted upon them. Venereal diseases run rampant among these children and they rarely receive medical treatment until they are seriously or terminally ill. Living conditions are poor and meals are inadequate and irregular. Many children that fail to earn enough money are punished severely, often through beatings and starvation. Sadly, drug use and suicide are all too common for victims of child sexual exploitation.

The Internet has also facilitated the recent rise in child sex tourism by providing a convenient marketing channel. Websites provide potential child sex tourists with pornographic accounts written by other child sex tourists. These websites detail sexual exploits with children and supply information on sex establishments and prices in various destinations, including information on how to specifically procure child prostitutes. Additionally, sex tour travel agents may publish brochures and guides on the Internet that cater to child sex tourists. In 1995, there were over twenty-five businesses in the United States that offered and arranged sex tours. One particular website promised nights of sex “with two young Thai girls for the price of a tank of gas.” The easy availability of this information on the Internet generates interest in child sex tourism and facilitates child sex abusers in making their travel plans.

The international tourism industry is booming. Since the 1960’s, international travel has increased seven-fold. As tourists eagerly travel to distant lands to enjoy new landscapes and cultures, economically developing countries have welcomed the expansion of the international tourism industry as a much-needed source of income within their own nations. With the exponential rise in this industry, however, comes the growth of a darker, more clandestine phenomenon: child sex tourism.

Child sex tourists are individuals that travel to foreign countries to engage in sexual activity with children. The non-profit organization End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and the Trafficking of Children (ECPAT) estimates that more than one million children worldwide are drawn into the sex trade each year.

Child sex tourists are typically males and come from all income brackets. Perpetrators usually hail from nations in Western European nations and North America.


Now, if you think poor women of color are left out of the pool of the raped and exploited, you’d be mistaken. So, again, when studying “who the rapists are in the U.S.” does the quote you gave me factor in all the information presented here?

What about homosexuals who are causing the hurricanes in USA? It seems West also has its own holy cows. Do not throw stones while you are living in glass palaces. Holy cows of homosexuals and God’s punishment is cornerstone of Christian Sharia law. Just ask pope about his views. A depressed girl committing suicide goes to hell for eternity. How sick the church can be. It has sanctioned in the past 600 years the slavery and killing and maiming a billion people and the theft is still continuing by the so called Christians. How shameful. But West has its big holy cows, from holocaust to fascism and theft of natural resources of other countries to pedophilia and torture and illegal invasions, the list continues. The reason for all this media hype against Iran is because Iran is fast progressing in science and technology. In fact they have the world’s fastest growth rate in science. Wikipedia: List of statistically superlative countries

@ Julian

You have taken this debate to deeper and deeper levels and what you say is very important. These modern liberal freedoms, ease of travel, Internet communications and anonymity has all helped to encourage sex trade and tourism.

Yet you must also acknowledge that many international sex rings have been detected and brought to justice in the last few years. There are now sex registers enforced here in the UK and around Europe to dissuade sexual deviants, and even Thailand is now attempting to reverse its image as a nation for sex tourism.

Let me ask you this sincerely, how would you plan to reverse this trend in sex trade and slavery? What are your ideas on how to overcome this ethical whole in society?

1. One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.
2. One who believes in free will.

1. A dissolute person; usually a man who is morally unrestrained (noun)
2. Unrestrained by convention or morality (adj.)

I’d make the law in Sweden the law making being a sex tourism a criminal offense, and making “the purchase of a human being, even for an hour” illegal. I’d support this happened everywhere that it is found to be effective, with “effective” named by the most harmed, not by the procurers.

Stating that something is being addressed in no way indicates it is becoming less of a problem. It could be addressed and also flourishing, which is the case with pornography that films rape and battery and calls it “pimp’s free speech”. Am I for State censorship of such materials? No. I am for laws which enable and support people harmed taking the abusers and makers of the pornography to court under the umbrella of civil rights abuses and/or human rights abuses.

Kyle, I have a question for you:

Given this whole discussion, would you say that “Sex Wars” was “an ethical, responsible” book dealing with the reality of sexual violence against women and the feminists who gave so much of their lives to challenge men’s rights to abuse women? Or, do you agree with me that it was “framed up” to bypass those atrocities, and instead focus on liberal issues that don’t address the civil and human rights issues?

Thanks for your answer. I definitely see the seriousness of the problems you describe.
I see why our stats differ. I was talking about the rape-rates across America, and you focussed only on the rates dealing with Native American victims. I do not know why you’d focus in like that.

Mr. Blackford, I’m curious if you’ve seen fellow outspoken atheist Jerry Coyne’s commentary about Boobquake:
He addresses your comments specifically.

Hi Veronica,

What about the endemic racism and classism in the U.S. “criminal” justice system determining who is arrested in the first place? What about the fact that wealthy white men can afford lawyers to keep them out of any courtroom, and keep charges of rape from appearing on their public records?

Does that not factor at all into why you think it is that “Black men” appear to be the largest population of rapists in U.S. society?

I eagerly await your reply, as it seems as though you missed most of the point I was making here.

Julian, trying to keep things quick, I already said that “I definitely see the seriousness of the problems you describe,” but you didn’t address the last thing I said.

Hi Veronica,

I focus in on it for a variety of reasons:

1. In the U.S. there is and has always been, since the white man came here, a myth about men of color being “dangerous”, and the “men you have to watch out for”. There is much murmur in white communities about the terror of “getting lost in ‘the wrong part of town’, meaning where poor Brown and Black people live. This mythology produced lynching of Black men, and its legacy remains in many forms, which result in police officers pulling over Black people who are driving from point A to point B like anyone else,  but are presumed to “be up to something no good” based on their skin tone.

2. Lost in all of that is this: white men are the most violent people on Earth, unequivocally. If you add up the atrocities committed by white men, since “white” men have existed as such, and consolidated power around such an ideology, you will find that white men are THE rapists, thieves, burglars, tax evaders, and general criminals about town. That white men have so many protections, like laws, government, police and military forces, to keep them from facing the consequences of their criminal pursuits, means the white owned media can promote and promulgate ideas that Black men, not white men, are “the most dangerous demographic”.

Consider: The Crusades, Colonialism, witch burnings, Imperialism, Wars against people of color around the world, Nazi genocide, the Maafa, U.S. (with Europe at times) wars on Vietnam, Korea, other countries in Southeast Asia, covert warfare in Central American countries, globalisation and the impoverishment of the Third World with the help of the IMF and WTO, sex tourism and sexual slavery.

3. With that, is the almost complete invisibilisation of Indigenous people. They are, in media, either already gone, presumed dead, or available for on-going plunder and rape, which isn’t reported, it is just done off camera.

4. Whenever I hear someone promote a white male supremacist mythology about “The Black Male Rapist”, I feel it is ethically imperative to set the record straight, and one of the most glaring means of doing so is pointing out who, in the U.S., the land of the free and such, is most raped and by whom. This, alone, should suffice to demonstrate the racism and fallacy of the “Black Male Rapist” as THE perpetrator against women. Let’s not forget: the slaver owner raped both white women and Black women, at will, legally, as both white women and Black women were his property. So too were Black men his property, and how this all plays out to this day has been written about extensively, although there will always be plenty of white voices ready to chime in “That was in the past, why don’t you let that go?”, to which I reply: why don’t whites let go of inheritance laws designed to keep white supremacy fueled with resources? Why don’t white men forget what they learned from using pornography when unwelcomingly approaching women and children they think of as “existing to meet their sexual needs”? Why don’t white men forget how to oppress women, and men of color? These things are not forgotten at all.

Another answer to you is this:
As presumably humane and ethical beings, why shouldn’t we all, collectively, focus on what is happening to Indigenous women?

I’m all for helping and defending the American Indian. But maybe the high stats of whites raping them (compared to blacks raping them) is because whites are more likely to live near them.


There’s clearly no dissuading you from your wish to demonise Black men and be in denial about white men. What you just wrote is about as racist a comment as I’ve read online in a while.

If an Indigenous woman lives on a reservation, that means any white man has to travel onto reservation land. Even if he doesn’t live far away, he has to walk, at least. He has to make an effort to get from where he lives off reservation land, to where he goes to commit the rape. Wherever that is.

And, you know, there ARE American Indian MEN living WITH those women, right in the same homes, often!

So why would white men be 80% of the rapists? Why are white men raping children in Cambodia? Why do white heterosexual men rape white woman and Black women and any other women?

Entitlement, privilege, access, power, and a lack of accountability and negative consequence to the white rapist. It’s really that simple.

In the U.S., all men are raised to believe they have right to take women by whatever means necessary to have whatever experience they wish to have. But some cultures discourage this, and others encourage it. White society encourages it. And if you talk to women who have experienced white male “frat houses” as social partying spaces, you’d quickly learn exactly how much white heterosexual men are capable of encouraging individual rapist and gang-rapist behavior and attitudes. You’d realise how much white het men encourage it and pride each other for participating in it.

Please check your anti-Black male and other racism. It’s reprehensible. The women who are most raped by Black men, are, surprise: Black women.

And there isn’t “the American Indian”. There are many societies, many different Nations, many different people, of all skin colors, sometimes many ethnicities, in many regions, on and off reservations, living urban lives and rural lives, sometimes near white people, sometimes near Black people, sometimes near people who are neither white nor Black. Some American Indian women ARE also Black. As are some Indigenous men in North America. According to your racist logic, the American Indian women of any ethnicity who live near Black men are most at risk. Why don’t you accept that WHITE men can be very, very DANGEROUS? Why, given so much evidence and the statistics, is this so hard to accept?

Your racism really is stunning to me. No person of color I know needs any help from someone whose racism is as unchecked as yours. Try not being so racist in public spaces, for a start.

@ Julian

Your comments have travelled from the sublime to that of the outrageous bigot. And I’m sorry I needed to say that, yet it is the truth. You not only promote strongly your own prejudiced views, you also accuse others of racism, and your comments clearly show that you are racist yourself. According to you all white men around the world past and present are evil, power hungry tyrants who rape everything in the path black, white, young or old. Take a step back from yourself and take some time to revisit your thoughts on human beings in general, and recognise that “it’s not just white men that have been, and can be immoral”.

The reason why someone rapes or murders or partakes in any heinous or immoral act is

1. Because they do not know any better. This also applies to indigenous black men raping black women and children, and religious doctrines that devalue women as lower class humans in general terms. As well as to other humans low on morality and it’s general understanding. Education of moral values may overcome this problem of nations and their societies, and this includes the education of third world nations. Yet, and I again ask you this sincerely, does a black man in Africa who rapes a black woman know he is doing wrong?

2. Because they think they can get away with it, even though they know it is wrong to force their own cravings, wants and desires on others at their expense : this is “SELFISHNESS!” Like the psychopath who knows that he is doing wrong, yet still persists with his selfish desires and ideas of superiority : he has no value of the feelings of others, of victims, little or no sympathy or empathy. This does not describe any society or nation or national identity as a whole, only individuals within those societies.

It does not describe all white men, or all men, or all people, or all humans. You need to examine the human condition to find the roots of selfishness that includes all of your previous points. Examine this, and you will find the root of the evils that you describe and profess. Your political views on subjugation may have some validity perhaps, (in the US?), yet your descriptions of the world political and social view is wrong. You need to see past this and recognise that immoral and uneducated people perpetrate immoral acts and wrong doings : it is individuals! Not ethnic groups nor merely rich white men !

Your accusations of me (I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that I have more black friends than you do) are as ridiculous as arguing that white men are four times as likely as black men to rape silver-haired librarians named Agnes. Get a clue.

Back to Boobquake: I agree that it’s good to argue that women should be allowed to strut their stuff, but I think it’s foolish to argue that they should be encouraged do so. Why? Because I know that I get more respect from men when I’m dressed modestly. I don’t mean “burka”. I just mean modestly. They treat me more seriously. It’s easy to spot when you test it out.

I apologise for calling you racist, Veronica.

I was reading some stuff into what you posted. Sorry about that.

And I like that distinction you’re making, between being allowed and being encouraged.


Seems to me like you’re overreacting to me simply pointing out the history of white men’s violence.

The history is there. I didn’t make it up.

And 80% of the rapists of American Indian women are white. That’s Amnesty International’s report, not mine. You can go read it for yourself.

You also seemed to have not read the part where my explanation is that rapists are people who have privilege, power, entitlement, access, and living in a system where there aren’t likely to encounter negative consequences. That’s far truer of wealthy people than poor people who commit any crimes, right?

So this isn’t rocket science.

Stop misreading and misstating what I’m saying, please. I never said white men are the only men who rape, or who do really awful stuff, did I? (No.)

Try replying to what I did say.

I suspect we’d make pretty decent friends, Julian. Wishing you well.

I was thinking that too, Veronica!

And I know that I was letting some anti-racist stuff I’ve been dealing with elsewhere bleed, inappropriately BOTH into my responses, and ALSO into my readings of what you’ve been saying all along here. I’ve reread it all and am like “What was I getting so upset about?! She’s saying such uncontroversial things!!!”

So, my sincerest apologies to you. I am grateful you were willing to not slam the cyber-door in my face, and would have understood if you did! 😊

World Press Distracted by Boobquake while Iran Maneuvers Into Women’s Rights Commission

Once again, Julian Real pops in from the sky to defend the holy cause of anti-porn radical feminism. Unfortunately, he makes several points that are in need of correction.

1) Collaboration between radical feminists and the religious right:

Actually, the collaboration between the religious right and radical feminists on a range of sexual issues is well-documented and spans from the anti-porn movement of the 1980s to the current prostitution “abolitionist” movement.

The book “The New Politics of Pornography” documents how Catherine MacKinnon worked closely with religious right leaders to pass the Indianapolis ordinance and then turned around and made every effort to hide this and keep the right-wing activists behind the scenes.

The book “Freeing God’s Children: The Unlikely Alliance for Global Human Rights” (a book *sympathetic* to prostitution abolitionism) details the alliance between feminists like Laura Lederer and Equality Now, on one hand, and social conservatives like Michael Horowitz and the Hudson Institute to push what came to be called the “global gag order” around prostitution. I also refer to articles by Jack Shafer in Slate and Debbie Nathan in The Nation further discussing the “abolitionist” alliance:

2) The Dworkin/MacKinnon Ordinance.

The idea that the Dworkin/MacKinnon Ordinance was not a form of censorship, but simply about “holding pimps accountable”. Actually, the ordinance contained language expressly defining a wide range of sexually explicit images and allowed lawsuits against such to be taken out by practically anyone “in the name of all women”. That this in practice would entail de facto censorship of a wide range of materials and simply displaced the mechanism of censorship from criminal to civil law is obvious, and was recognized as such by the courts in Booksellers v Hudnut.

And @ iamcuriousblue,

Why don’t you inform your audience here about the political work of these radical feminists: Florynce Kennedy, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, June Jordan, Barbara Smith, Pat Parker, Patricia Hill Collins, Pearl Cleage, Patricia Williams, Andrea Smith, the women of INCITE!, Yanar Mohammed, Ruchira Gupta, Malalai Joya.

THEY’RE all Radical Feminists. Ever heard of THEM? Who did they work with to accomplish their radical feminist goals, hmmm?

Hey, this is YOUR cause, not mine… here’s I’ll quote you (don’t you hate that!):

“1) Collaboration between radical feminists and the religious right:”

Why don’t you mention ANY of the radical feminists above? Oh, because you only think there ARE three radical feminists, who are all white. Gotcha. Or, well, please do explain.

Where do you stand on capitalism, NAFTA, the WTO, Third World poverty, the IMF, and “free trade” vs. fair trade? Where do you stand on Indigenous Rights?

My position is clear on such things, and yes, I defend the work of Andrea Dworkin from trolls like you. And, in case it isn’t abundantly clear, I don’t work with either white conservatives, white liberals, or white libertarians. So what camp am I in, huh?

Julian, I could hardly give a damn about your particular fringe, authoritarian ultra-left ideology. (Which really does resemble an authoritarian right, even fascist ideology more than you’d care to recognize.)

So, my point is somehow invalidated because I mentioned several prominent radical feminists who actually had influence on legislation rather than your pet fave radical theorists? If that point even began to make sense, I’d actually address it.

“Where do you stand on capitalism, NAFTA, the WTO, Third World poverty, the IMF, and “free trade” vs. fair trade? Where do you stand on Indigenous Rights?”

And this is relevant to the discussion how?

All I have to say about it is that I don’t come from a perspective of a Marxist-Leninist/Radical Feminist/Whatever-the-hell-else-sounds-radical clusterfuck of an ideology, unlike some people. And if you were capable of getting your head out of your ideology for 2 seconds, you’d note that most other people in the real world don’t either and that screaming more-radical-than-thou rhetoric at people doesn’t exactly make your case any stronger.

“So what camp am I in, huh?”

A world of your own, from what I’ve seen.

@ Iamcuriousblue,

You link to two blogs on your own, neither having anything at all to do with human rights or ethics.

You are a well-known pro-porn troll.

You live in such a tiny little universe, your own, that you don’t realise that, for example, Marxism is well-known and well-practiced throughout South and Central America. You’d know that Leftist ideologies have fueled revolutions that have set people from from the myopic, insensitive, callous people like you, who lead nations with no regard for human rights at all.

All you exist online to do is to promote pornography and the sex you want to engage in.

Go at it.

But don’t proclaim yourself to be knowledgeable about what most people around the world are doing. Most radical feminists are Asian, after all.

And you never mention them.

You seem to have a bit of trouble identifying my political stance, because I think the white male supremacist conservatives and the white male supremacist liberals, and the whiteboys on the Left, aren’t all that different from one another, from the point of view of ecocide and Indigenous Rights. So why pretend you know what you’re talking about?

And what happened to you to make “fighting feminists” your “Cause”?

Seems a mighty petty agenda to me, given that “feminists” are fighting for human rights.

And good job of not answering any questions that might further reveal you to be the selfish, self-centered, virulently antifeminist “libertarian leftist” man you are.

A revised comment, posted earlier but it never made it to the public:

@Iamcuriousblue and everyone else,

1. The “collaboration” between the “radical feminists” and liberals is also well documented. The Right wing wants to strengthen the status quo in many oppressive ways. The liberals decry this as “wrong” but have no agenda to oppose it substantively. Their ethics are not substantively different than those of the white conservatives. But for you, it’s important to pretend that liberals and conservatives are substantively politically different, so that you can attempt to malign “radical feminism”, as if “radical feminism” ever was only “one thing” with and “one perspective” and “one agenda”, with one group of activists who all worked together and had dinner together and shared dish duties.

As you can note in many places, radical feminisms have not been alligned with either the white Right or the white Left, overall. That’s partly because most radical feminists are women of color, who are not at all benefitted by white male supremacist ideologies.

You consider it “ideological” of me to name dominant U.S. ideologies. Curious.

You see, the assumption you’re trying to make, which is, if one searches out your comments across the internet, is that radical feminists were REALLY Republican right-wingers who are anti-sex and anti-porn, and because you are ardently pro-porn you see radical feminists as “the enemy” rather than the pimps and traffickers who produce sexual abuse for your visual pleasure.

This is verifiable:
Andrea Dworkin’s dozen books critique EVERY institution the Right holds dear to its racist, misogynistic, pro-capitalist, pro-war, wealthy little heart. You haven’t explained how this could be so, if she was so “pro-state” and “pro-right wing”. Have you read her book “Right-wing Women” where she analyses what the Right and Left each offer women that doesn’t constitute human rights for women?

You don’t note how U.S. radical feminists have worked with “the Left” on matters of protesting U.S. wars in Central America and Asia. You don’t factor in how U.S. radical feminists have had to work with liberals on most issues in this country, including on the level of city councils and state law. Rape services, battered women’s shelters, anti-poverty efforts: none of these are right-wing agenda items, and radical feminists have worked alongside liberals on all of them. How do you explain that, given your allegations?

Why do you fail to note that liberals have worked much more closely with the Right-wing on political, economic, and social issues, than radical feminists ever have.

Right-wing men, along with liberal men, want 24/7 access to pornography as well as physical access to women in systems of prostitution. The Right are just better at pretending they’re “moral” while committing all manner of atrocity, including by being sex tourists, promoting on-going warfare and pretending the poor are the population most receiving “welfare” and “benefits”. I think what we’ve all learned in the last year and a half about the financial industry shows exactly who is and who is not taking in millions of dollars in “benefits”.

Laura Lederer. Are you aware that “radical feminists” have distanced themselves from her quite a bit since she revealed herself to be Right wing?

2. You appear to want to expose truth about a proposed ordinance that never became a functioning law in the U.S. Why aren’t you more concerned with pro-trafficking and pro-exploitation laws, pro-genocide and pro-war laws and policies actively and currently co-supported and crafted by liberals and the Right-wing, that result in the death of millions of people worldwide?

I am puzzled by your agenda. Please explain it.

Well, who am I to argue further in light of such an exposition of your pure revolutionary awesomeness? Yeah, Julian, you’re just so noble, such an altruist, so looking out for the good of the world’s oppressed, I am absolutely awestruck.

Sorry for my “trolling”. I’ll let you get on with your enlightening the world about the path to true liberation.

And I thought I was flaming when I wrote: “I agree that it’s good to argue that women should be allowed to strut their stuff, but I think it’s foolish to argue that they should be encouraged do so. ” Perhaps Mr. Blackford missed this provocative statement.

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